Definition of strained in English:



  • 1(of a person) showing signs of tiredness or nervous tension.

    ‘Jean's pale, strained face’
    • ‘Before she can shake her head in strained resignation, Rhett Remiel steps up next to the table.’
    • ‘Several minutes of strained, nervous gazing about the room passed.’
    • ‘In the street the other day, I saw a couple of new arrivals in town who had the strained features of people who might have just descended the south face of Everest.’
    • ‘Her voice was strained and sad, shivered like an autumn leaf trembling in the wind.’
    • ‘After a couple more exchanges like this, my voice becoming increasingly strained, he finally picked up the vibe that he was unwanted.’
    • ‘Alex's voice held a strained edge, sounding as if it would break any minute.’
    • ‘The scientific controversy is beyond me, but I can recognize the fixed stare, the strained voice-throb and the rigid jaw of a madman at a hundred paces.’
    • ‘Of course, her strained silence, paled skin, shaking hands and lowered eyes did not betray her feelings.’
    • ‘Jamie growled to himself and lifted his hands in a tense strained pose, ready to strangle.’
    • ‘But once the pallbearers had executed their duties perfectly in the full gaze of the nation, their strained faces were clearly shown to be glistening with beads of perspiration.’
    • ‘It was all we could do to keep up on our laden-down mountain bikes as he blazed a trail and made pleasant conversation in return for which we replied with strained grunts and squeaks.’
    • ‘Meanwhile in Toronto, the mayor, with a strained voice, explains to irate restaurant owners why they're being double billed for garbage pickup.’
    • ‘Here, for all her delicacy of phrasing, Arleen Augér's tones have a slightly strained quality, as though the work lies at the edge of her voice.’
    • ‘Far from the strained looks clearly visible on Glasgow's streets, Edinburgh shoppers were casually sauntering, even finding time to indulge in the Christmas market.’
    drawn, careworn, worn, pinched, tired, exhausted, weary, fatigued, drained
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    1. 1.1 (of an atmosphere, situation, or relationship) not relaxed or comfortable; tense or uneasy.
      ‘there was a strained silence’
      ‘relations between the two countries were strained’
      • ‘The strained silence between them was making her self-conscious.’
      • ‘We sat in silence for several strained minutes, feeling awkward in one another's presence.’
      • ‘There would be a few minutes of strained silence as we were handed over from one parent to the other, all under the watchful eye of my aunt.’
      • ‘He rarely stepped into the house and only for lunch, which was usually eaten quickly in strained silence.’
      • ‘There was a strained silence for a while and then in the distance there was a clap of thunder.’
      • ‘The strained friendship has made for some awkward moments on the stand.’
      • ‘Not a cheerful and easy class, not bubbling with the energy of youth, but heavy with the strained silence of fear!’
      • ‘The strained, tense atmosphere made the house extremely uncomfortable.’
      • ‘I know that generally strained and stilted conversations can't really be described as compelling, but this was a unique situation.’
      • ‘The strained silence had said more than they each ever could.’
      • ‘We sat in a strained silence, our ears trained on any noise that was out of the ordinary.’
      • ‘He cried as he told me how she was alienating him from his children and how their previously fun times together were now strained and difficult.’
      • ‘The meetings between her parents were strained and uncomfortable.’
      • ‘Henderson was smiling gently, but since her eyes were on the flickering candles, I couldn't tell if she sensed the strained silence.’
      • ‘After about a moment of strained silence he finally answered.’
      • ‘He was saved from the strained silence when she let out a victorious cry as the last splinter was caught between the tweezers.’
      • ‘There was an awkward and strained silence between them for a moment, but it was broken by a familiar female voice.’
      • ‘The elevator ride seemed endless, full of strained silence and uneasy sideways glances.’
      • ‘There was a strained silence and when Helen spoke again, her voice suddenly lacked its formerly friendly tone.’
      • ‘The front door opened, interrupting the strained silence.’
      awkward, tense, uneasy, uncomfortable, fraught, edgy, difficult, troubled, embarrassed, unrelaxed, stilted
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    2. 1.2 (of an appearance or performance) produced by deliberate effort rather than natural impulse; artificial or forced.
      ‘I put on my strained smile for the next customer’
      • ‘She hadn't seen Kenta much, but when she had in the last week he had been smiling nervously and in a strained manner.’
      • ‘It's a moderately fun party, spiced with bitchy gossip, confrontations that loom on the threshold of unpleasant and moments of strained intimacy.’
      • ‘Darcy corrected him, still trying hard to keep the strained smile on her face, though evidently not trying hard enough, because it slipped at the corners when she spoke.’
      • ‘Sam smiled a bit as the rest offered their own strained smiles and laughs to his amusing but rather frighteningly honest statement.’
      • ‘‘Oh yes,’ I said with a small, strained smile, trying to cover up my moment of confusion.’
      • ‘Sheldon just looked at him and smiled a small strained smile.’
      • ‘Perhaps the tension of the situation explained his strained look as the public gallery in Dublin Castle dissolved into laughter.’
      • ‘‘It's not every day something like that happens,’ he said with a rather strained smile.’
      • ‘Amy's mother gave Mrs. Kung a strained smile and nodded politely.’
      • ‘Marcus didn't further agitate the strained conversation.’
      • ‘People spoke in strained voices; laughed too long over old jokes.’
      • ‘She doesn't look any different and she's actually wearing a rather strained smile.’
      • ‘There was a strained smile on her face as she glanced at him.’
      • ‘Speaking of seeing through each other's eyes, I saw through his, as he swallowed hard and gave me a strained smile.’
      • ‘It was a strained, half-hearted laugh of a guilty prisoner, whose friend had just made a joke about the death sentence.’
      • ‘In New York, this is tantamount to forking the maître d' in the eye, yet it is accepted with a strained smile as we are shown to our booth, the reservation intact.’
      • ‘My jaw dropped and a strained laugh escaped my throat.’
      • ‘‘I wish I could be of more help,’ Lucinda said with a slightly strained smile.’
      • ‘Favian seemed to find nothing wrong with Hakkana's strained smile.’
      • ‘She nervously giggled but gave him a strained look craving an answer to her question.’
      forced, constrained, laboured, wooden, stiff, self-conscious, hollow, unnatural
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    3. 1.3 (of a statement or representation) labored or far-fetched.
      ‘my example may seem a little strained and artificial’
      • ‘It seems to me that this is quite a strained argument for the constitution amounting to an ‘illegal coup’.’
      • ‘Rodriguez's strained effort to link the book to the events of September 11 is hard to read.’
      • ‘His strained effort to explain away the photographs is fascinating.’
      • ‘The second part strikes me as strained and unpersuasive.’
      • ‘But here the strained and unconvincing resolution arrives posthaste.’
      • ‘It is to be hoped, to pursue Latham's own somewhat strained imagery, that he understands that it was just one rung on the ladder, and one on which he cannot always rely in the future.’
      • ‘The dialogue and the acting are strained and unconvincing, and far too complacent considering the events under consideration.’
      unbelievable, beyond belief, hard to believe, scarcely credible, unconvincing, far-fetched, laboured, implausible, improbable, highly unlikely, not in the least likely, questionable, dubious, doubtful, inconceivable, unthinkable, unimaginable, impossible, astonishing, astounding, breathtaking, staggering, absurd, preposterous, phenomenal, extraordinary
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  • 2(of a limb or muscle) injured by overexertion or twisting.

    • ‘Scarcely less bizarre was the performance of Dwayne Smith, disgracefully absent the previous day, but who now came in and defied doctor's instructions to nurse his strained side.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Brunell was a spectator again during practice because of a strained hamstring.’
    • ‘Just be sure that the root of your pain is nothing more serious than a strained muscle.’
    • ‘Clemens began the game tentatively thanks to a strained leg muscle suffered in his last start.’
    • ‘Most often, low back pain is caused by a stretched or strained muscle.’
    • ‘He was also studying medicine alongside teaching music, and had many pupils with problems like tendonitis or strained muscles.’
    • ‘In case you end up with an exercise-induced strained muscle or two, have a few of these natural alternatives handy.’
    • ‘Tension disappears, as do strained necks, hunched shoulders, and unnecessary work.’
    • ‘I awoke to the sharp feeling of a bruised head and strained muscles.’
    • ‘Bob Sura had the edge, but he has been hampered by a strained right calf.’
    • ‘The words were as therapeutic as his strong hand against her tense strained shoulder.’
    • ‘It was Carter's second game back after missing 10 games with a strained quadriceps muscle in his left knee.’
    • ‘He had been troubled with the strained ligament problem for a few weeks prior to the match against the Spaniards and hadn't been training 100 per cent.’
    • ‘G Brandin Knight showed no signs that his strained right quadriceps was bothering him.’
    • ‘He starts to massage his strained muscles and vocal cords.’
    • ‘Keane is suffering a strained hamstring and realistically should be back in a fortnight, but at his age, with his level of wear and tear, the absences are only going to get longer and more frequent.’
    • ‘His 2001 season ended early because of a strained muscle in his left side.’
    • ‘Barlow has been bothered by a strained quadriceps muscle, which he hurt in the preseason and re-aggravated recently.’
    • ‘Nanofilaments might circulate to strained muscle groups, forming chains and pulleys of super-strong protein.’
    • ‘For example, don't stretch strained muscles unless under a therapist's direction - you could cause further harm.’
  • 3(of a mainly liquid substance) having been strained to separate out any solid matter.

    • ‘Females were induced to oviposit using an artificial crepuscular lighting period and strained water from larval pans as an oviposition stimulus.’
    • ‘Beat the eggs and egg yolks, then add the strained cream, cold or tepid, and sweeten to taste - but very mildly as the apricots will be sweet.’
    • ‘Pour the strained liquid over the lamb shanks and serve.’
    • ‘Add soy sauce, hoi sin and 150 ml of strained mushroom water, and toss well.’
    • ‘Remove from the heat, whisk in the clarified butter, and add this to the strained cream sauce.’
    • ‘Pour cooled sugar-water mixture into aging container and add strained blueberry liquid.’
    • ‘Gourds were used to contain the strained juices for fermenting.’
    • ‘Jelly preserves are like jam, but use strained fruit juice rather than fruit pulp.’
    • ‘Stirring constantly, cook for two to three minutes before gradually adding the strained milk.’
    • ‘Pour the strained liquor into a sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with lemon peel.’
    • ‘Keep this strained wine in an air-tight container for another 22 days before use.’
    • ‘A bowl of strained strawberry sauce was put out to dip them.’
    • ‘Add the strained liquid and the hot stock and cook for three minutes, whisking constantly.’
    • ‘The strained juice ferments into an alcoholic beverage and is taken as a general tonic.’
    • ‘Pour the strained mixture into the chilled glass, then layer with more crushed ice.’
    • ‘Gradually add the strained liquid, gently using a whisk to incorporate until smooth.’
    • ‘Remove from heat and add six litres of water and half a cup of strained lemon juice and stir well.’
    • ‘Return the strained liquid to the saucepan and reduce to a thick syrup.’